WHAM! August 11th a Tuesday afternoon I see The Blood Guy for my CBC check and orders for chemo the next day. Cell count is again fabulous and chemo is scheduled. On my way home I stroll through TJ Maxx and then stop at my Raley’s for my favorite nibbles after chemo….. get home, putzin around the house and feel like something is wrong. Can’t figure it out, I’m not nauseous or achy but something is off. I run my hand through the peach fuzz on my head and it hurts. Oh Shit, I know this feeling. I immediately take my temperature and 101.8 it is.
This is not good. When one is on chemo and has a temp of 100.4 or higher you have to go to the ER or call your doc. This was around 5:30 in the evening and call my friend Barbara instead asking if she could come over and bring me some tylenol. She arrives later finding me curled up on the couch whining and my temp has steadily gone up to 102.3. Take tylenol and wait….. still not going down. FINE, to the ER we go.
At ER, get in, get situated. Barbara and my sister are with me. Try to numb my port with Cherry Flavored Chloraseptic. Yes, that throat spray. The ER nurse actually said that most people don’t require a numbing agent. Bullshit! Then why are we given Emla cream and told to use it 2 hours prior to port access so as not to feel the discomfort and pain? HUH HUH? Explain that! I was shocked they didn’t have the freeze spray and want it noted that Cherry Chloraseptic didn’t work.
Cultures from my port and vein show nothing. Cell count is great and CMP (Complete Metabolic Panel) looks great too. So, I’m given a Levaquin, an rx and told to call my oncologist in the morning.
Next morning waaaay before I generally wake up, I’m sweating, my body hurts and my left breast is swollen, red, hot and quite painful. SHIT! I have an infection. I call The Blood Guy and he wants me in his office right away. He calls an infectious disease doc to ask what kind of antibiotics I should be on….? I have no open wounds, and my last breast reconstruction surgery was 7 months ago, basically it’s complicated. Infection Disease doc says to start me on Zyvox if my insurance will cover it ($101.53 a pill X 20) and if not, I’m in the hospital for IV ABX. Zyvox works when all other antibiotics won’t due to resistance, I mean we’re talking MRSA , VRE and Staph here but no way to culture it. It’s hopefully a shot and I’m terrified I might lose this left breast (again, REALLY?!)
I start ABX that afternoon after we call The Boob Guy (my plastics doc) only to find out he’s on vacation. But I do see his backup. She says that if she had seen me the day before, she would have performed emergency surgery BUT because I have been an ABX for 1 day and the infection is responding, let’s wait for my Boob guy and see what he says.
So I wait. take my ABX and wait some more. Not getting chemo but still having major side effects from ABX. This Zyvox is incredibly strong and I cannot have any Tyramine rich foods. It’s in a class called MAOI’s. I’m sure you’ve seen ALL the warnings about it. Don’t eat this, Don’t take it with that. No cheese, No chocolate and no wine! PLUS, it causes hypertension (hence no tyramine rich foods for fear of hypertensive crisis), peripheral neuropathy something I’m supposed to experience with my chemo but don’t. Zyvox made everything taste like I had been sucking on a nickle and suffered severe insomnia. It really messes with the seratonin levels in your head which is NOT GOOD when it’s possible you may be having surgery to remove your implant for a minimum of 3 months. I was terrified and depressed for the longest week. BUT, when I saw the Boob Guy he said the infection was responding well and we just had to wait until after I was done with the antibiotics to see if the infection reached my implant or if it stayed within the layers of the skin. It makes sense because being on the antibiotics the infection was subsiding. Won’t know if it comes back until I’m done with this cycle of antibiotics.
So, I have to wait some more…… big sigh….. More sleepless nights and tingling hands, creative ways to stay hydrated and not be so constipated. And on Monday August 24th, I got the “I Think You’re gonna be ok!” from both the Blood Guy and Boob Guy. WOOHOO!!!! The Blood Guy did prescribe me another 5 days of Zyvox which I happily took because I got the ok to keep my left breast implant and go to my cousin’s wedding!
It has been a long and stressful past few weeks. I just got my 3rd treatment of chemo for this cycle yesterday and am speaking at Nevada’s Cancer Coalition Conference tomorrow. My PET/CT is scheduled for Monday, I’m off chemo and off to D.C. again with The American Cancer Society next week.
“Fear tastes like a rusty knife and do not let her into your house.” – John CHeever